web analytics

A tale of two no surprises disclosures

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, March 24th, 2015 - 34 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, john key, national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , , ,

A couple of recent events provide an interesting contrast and show how the handling of disclosures under the need to know policy by this government varies.

The most recent is that involving Carmel Sepuloni.  She learned the day before that her mother was to appear in Court facing charges of welfare fraud.  The discovery was obviously a bombshell to her.  After a discussion with Andrew Little she agreed to stand down as Labour’s Social Welfare spokesperson until the case was finalised.  This was a principled and entirely appropriate decision.

I asked under the Official Information Act if the Minister of Social Development was told under the no surprises policy about Mrs Sepuloni’s issues.  And I was told recently that she was.

Sepuloni OIA

It is interesting to compare this incident with the Mike Sabin incident.    There has been intense interest in what no surprises disclosure of Sabin’s issues were made by the police and when.  Fair enough that a Minister is told about action taken against a MP’s family.  I understand that this is normal procedure.  Even Rodney Hide has confirmed that this is a standard expectation.  So surely the Police told the Minister about Sabin’s difficulties.

The police have pretty well confirmed that Michael Woodhouse was told and he has not denied it.  Issues like a police investigation of a government MP you would think would be considered significant especially when an investigation of an opposition MP’s mother was considered significant.

So why can’t we be told when the Government was told about Sabin?

I can’t help but wonder who told the media about Mrs Sepuloni’s predicament.  Was this a sting by the Government hoping to divert attention away from some pretty bad scandals that National was enduring at the time?  And the failure to give Carmel Sepuloni a heads up should be contrasted with the very principled behaviour of Andrew Little in warning John Key that something was remiss with one of his Members of Parliament.

34 comments on “A tale of two no surprises disclosures ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    The only response I can muster to this post is: yawn.

    • Grace Miller 1.1

      This post is showing you that there seems to be one rule for Opposition MPs and disclosure, and another rule for the oiks in power.

      But keep yawning. Possibly the most intelligent thing your mouth has done today? 😉

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        “This post is showing you that there seems to be one rule for Opposition MPs and disclosure, and another rule for the oiks in power.”

        The circumstances surrounding Mike Sabin and Beverly Sepuloni are quite different. I can’t elaborate without breaking the law however.

        • jenny kirk

          Of course – one was for benefit fraud, and the other for serious assault charges with the potential for a long prison sentence. Two totally different events.

          • Lanthanide

            No, that’s not the salient difference, but again, mentioning it would be breaking the law.

          • Tracey


            do you mean telling the truth of when notified under no surprises policy about sabin would breach a possible suppression order cos it would reveal the police had been investigating sabin?

            • Lanthanide

              The reason for not revealing the information about when the police informed the minister is that it was “not in the public interest”.

              An MP resigns from Parliament because of “personal issues”. That is the publicly stated reason for the resignation. Is it in the public interest that the minister answer questions about when the police might have told them something about that MP? I would arguably say that having resigned for “personal issues”, it is *not* in the public interest.

              Now, should more information about the circumstances behind his resignation become publicly available, there may then be a lot more public interest in having this question answered by the minister. Also, the previous failure to answer the question on “public interest” grounds will appear to have been a mistake, because in politics it is always the cover-up that gets you in trouble…

        • Murray Rawshark

          I can elaborate without breaking the law. Carmel Sepuloni took a step back because her mother had problems and it was the right thing to do. Carmel told her leader as soon as she knew about it.

          Sabin hung around and stood for reelection when FJK knew he was being investigated by police. Whalespew has reported that the accusations are absolutely horrible. I have reason to believe he is correct. FJK kept him on and had him on a committee overseeing the same police who were investigating him.

          Now we can infer what Whalespew was hinting at, and it certainly is a “personal or family problem”, but not anything to do with Sabin’s mother. We don’t even formally know whether he has been charged, thanks to a whole heap of NAct lies and a continuing coverup.

          Do you really think that if a Labour MP had been accused of something so horrible that Whalespew was shocked by it (apart from voting for food in schools), Andrew Little would not have been forthcoming? I don’t. Look at the fuss that was made when there was a scandal with a Labour MP about someone who was over the age of consent rather than under 12. NAct certainly do have different rules for their own.

          • Lanthanide

            The salient difference between the cases cannot be mentioned without breaking the law.

            • felix

              Surely you can discuss one side of the comparison without mentioning the other.

              For example if we know that there are 2 three-dimensional objects – a ball and a box – we could say that the box has corners, straight edges, flat planes etc.

              In this way we have described the salient differences without discussing the ball.

              Of course this only really works because we all know that there is a ball, but in this instance we do all know that.

              • Lanthanide

                It is my contention that it is that single salient difference that explains the *main* reason for the difference in treatment between these two cases, and not the parties involved.

                And, I think that should the full story behind Mike Sabin’s exit from Parliament be revealed, that the Nat’s excuse of “not in the public interest” will be insufficient to continue to avoid answering the question, and also come back to haunt them.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  It’s my contention that you’re seeing things that don’t exist. Labour was transparent and open. NAct was the opposite. That’s the salient difference.

                  • Lanthanide

                    NAct have a very good reason for not being transparent in this matter. That’s kind of the whole point.

        • Grace Miller

          Claudia Hauiti?

          Mike Sabin?

          Bill ‘I cheat on my housing allowance’ English? (Just another pig at the trough, not being fired.)

          Keep yawning. Corruption and stealing, whatever what you slice it, is still corruption and stealing.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Excellent points. All the opposition parties need to wake up to the dangers of dirty politics. It is a two tier system, where National and it’s cronies can get away with anything and the rest of the parties are smeared constantly in the media often over things they have not even done. Wake up!! Organise!! Collaborate!! Strategise!!

    National is not going to give up their special advantage without a fight, so get some guts and do something.

    With all the barristers in opposition parties a legal challenge is probably the best bet as a medium term strategy but there also needs a short and long term one too.

    • Murray Simmonds 2.1

      There’s a great link provided over on “The Daily Blog” (dare I say?) by a commenter called PHILDC . . . .

      “One great big industrial espionage machine…
      see this…. Adam Curtis’s little spin on the news

      – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/03/23/would-john-key-really-use-the-gcsb-to-try-and-get-his-mate-a-job/#sthash.aNMMBIIF.R8kexn6Z.dpuf

      It addresses very succinctly the kinds of issues that democracies all around the world are currently facing.

      This is most definitely NOT yawnable stuff.

      Wake up, people, or we will all find our precious democracies trampled into the mud by the current load of crap politicians who have surfaced almost simultaneously within the world’s so-called democracies in this, the first part of the 21st Century.

      New Zealand is no exception.

      The world most definitely WILL go to hell in a handcart if we, the people, allow it to happen before our very noses!

    • sirpat 2.2

      agree totally….something is rotten in Denmark!!!…….. Organise!! Collaborate!! Strategise!!!……mmmmm maybe not the internet has been the demise of effective protest.

  3. Karen 3

    Great post Mickey.

    I also wondered who told the media about Carmel’s mother – it seemed a very convenient diversion at the time it came out.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Yes the new ‘kid’ on the block, Heather Duplessis- Allan has got in quickly with some exclusives.

      Translation: Shes become the new go to person for The PMs media team with Brook Sabin damaged goods as far as the “hits on Mps” department is concerned

      The real situation if Sabin was a labour or even a NZ First MP, it would have been spilled in the week before election

      • Anne 3.1.1

        Oh yes, that became apparent last night with her ‘appraisal’ from South Korea re- the fallout from the latest GCSB scandal. Nothing to see here folks, move on now that’s good boys and girls.

        I watched her recently in a clip concerning the Labour Party (might have been to do with Andrew Little – can’t remember) but the faintly sneering tone of her voice gave her allegiance away. The Rachel Glucina of the TV world?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Exactly why she got the job- after being pushed out of Seven Sharp by Hosking !

          They said to her : TVNZ wants a paddy gower, but better looking

        • veutoviper

          Also wife of Barry Soper.

  4. veutoviper 4

    Excellent post, MS.

    I had also found the different handling of these two cases ironic, to say the least.

    Thanks for following through and getting that response re the Sepuloni case.

    Dirty Politics continues unabated …..


    • Anne 4.1

      Yes, the stark contrast should be enough to make any decent NZer sit up and take stock of the dishonest and sleazy behaviour of this government – a behaviour which has apparently filtered down to the rank and file of some top government agencies – but sadly it won’t.

      You can bet your bottom dollar the spiteful Paula Bennett was in there somewhere.

  5. Penny Bright 5

    That’s the question that concerned Northland voters need to ask ex-Wall Street banker, (part-time) Prime Minister John Key, when he flies back to Northland, and flaps his arms about, BEGGING the disaffected, disillusioned and disappointed (former) National Party members / supporters / voters to vote for ‘amateur hour / political newby’ Mark Osborne?

    WHEN exactly did Police, under the ‘no surprises’ policy, advise the (then) Minister of Police, that Mike Sabin was under Police investigation?

    THAT, in my opinion, is THE question to be asked.

    It has nothing to do with the Court case, or name suppression.

    If I were up in Northland, I’d whip up a placard that asked that question, and hold it as close as I could to John Key, when he makes his last ‘dance of the desperate’ Northland trip.

    Penny Bright

  6. Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 6

    And after being given ‘no surprises’, the Minister of Police did absolutely totally completely utterly nothing to ensure, in some way, whatever way (nudge nudge wink wink), that it was conveyed to the Prime Minister.

    Ha ha.

    The John Key Bullsheet 😉 – are you lovin’ the feelin’?
    eat it up!

  7. Clemgeopin 7

    “Sabin’s difficulties”


  8. saveNZ 8

    When the police do not tell the truth for political reasons then we are entering into a police state.

    Manipulating the timing is also calling the police into disrepute – especially when the suppression is released and we finally find out what National were hiding about Sabin.

  9. Ovid 9

    Is it routine for the minister to be informed in all cases when welfare fraud is prosecuted, or just because the alleged offender is a relative of an MP? I’d hazard it’s the former as MSD may need to provide evidence in court in every case when welfare fraud is prosecuted.

  10. Penny Bright 10

    Mathew Hooton has tweeted the question – is Winston Peters going to drop the Mike Sabin ‘political bombshell’ in the House – today or tomorrow?

    Penny Bright

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Twenty highlights of 2020
    As we welcome in the new year, our focus is on continuing to keep New Zealanders safe and moving forward with our economic recovery. There’s a lot to get on with, but before we say a final goodbye to 2020, here’s a quick look back at some of the milestones ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates New Year Honour recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her warm congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the New Year 2021 Honours List. “The past year has been one that few of us could have imagined. In spite of all the things that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • David Parker congratulates New Year 2021 Honours recipients
    Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment David Parker has congratulated two retired judges who have had their contributions to the country and their communities recognised in the New Year 2021 Honours list. The Hon Tony Randerson QC has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Year’s Honours highlights outstanding Pacific leadership through challenging year
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the New Year’s Honours List 2021 highlights again the outstanding contribution made by Pacific people across Aotearoa. “We are acknowledging the work of 13 Pacific leaders in the New Year’s Honours, representing a number of sectors including health, education, community, sports, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Supporting seniors to embrace technology
    The Government’s investment in digital literacy training for seniors has led to more than 250 people participating so far, helping them stay connected. “COVID-19 has meant older New Zealanders are showing more interest in learning how to use technology like Zoom and Skype so they can to keep in touch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago